WESTMINSTER — The 1992 presidential race may be getting off to a slow start for Democrats because of the Persian Gulf war, but the party won't be running behind, the county's congresswoman said Friday.
"We will have acandidate, and we will have a good candidate," Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, told the party faithful.
About 130 Democrats gathered at Martin's Westminster for the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner sponsored by the Carroll County Democratic Club and the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.
Byron asked the group to name four candidates for president. It came upwith five: New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and Sens. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, Al Gore of Tennessee, George J. Mitchell of Maine and Sam Nunn of Georgia.
Not many people have named Mitchell, the majority leader, as a possible candidate, Byron said.
"I think George Mitchell is probably one of the finest legislators we've had in a Senate leadership position for a long time," she said.
Some may think the Democratic party is "a little wounded at the moment," but it has been taking on such issues as child care, homelessness, health care policy and campaign finance reform, she said.
She urged county candidates to keep up the fight.
"You can't win unless you go out and play thegame," she said.
Byron, in her seventh term in the House, also spoke about the war and how it has affected the country's psyche.
The United States "never has been as united in purpose since early on in World War II," said Byron, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Her son, Kimball, an Air Force reservist, was called to duty in the Persian Gulf in December. The 35-year-old pilot flies KC-10refueling aircraft and also is qualified to fly B-52s.
Byron voted to support President Bush and the use of force in the gulf conflict.
Many young people who served in the war "have changed dramatically. They've grown up. They have their heads held high.
"We need not hold our heads down any longer," she continued. "We as a nation arevery, very strong."
The support Americans showed for the troops was significant, Byron said. Americans didn't want what happened afterthe Vietnam War to occur again. Soldiers coming home from Vietnam "were never really accepted at home or welcomed back. I think this nation has felt a guilt," she said.
Byron also plugged Democratic officeholders in Annapolis and Washington.
"We have good people representing us -- Democrats in the Jefferson-Jackson tradition," she said.
The Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner is an annual event sponsored by Democrats all over the nation, said Gregory Pecoraro, party chairman in Carroll. The dinner honors Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, the two politicians considered to be the founders of the party, he said.
Jefferson founded the party when he ran for president in 1796, and Jackson is credited with reviving it when he ran for president in 1824, Pecoraro said.
Scott Markle, president of the Carroll CountyDemocratic Club, said county Democrats will have to work hard to winin the next election.
"With a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, we're going to kick some butt," he said.